I do not always feel beautiful; in fact, most days it's effort to convince myself that I am.
Most days, it's an effort to do many of the seemingly effortless things that I do.
Run, walk, hike, strength train, yoga, meditate, work full-time, write, cook, socialize... All of these things I LOVE to do. But there is that moment, that gap in between when all I want to do is pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. Or, curl up on the couch with a soft blanket and shut out the rest of the world. Or, sit in a chair with my head back and do nothing but listen to music. Living an active, engaged, and spiritually aware lifestyle is a choice. Just like any other.
*Note: By Active, I mean moving my body in ways that promotes physical health, and by Engaged, I mean participating in social and community activities/ interactions that promotes emotional and mental health, and by Spiritually Aware I mean embracing practices and concepts such as meditation and metaphysical energy in my life.
For those that know me, and certainly those that know me but only see me from afar via online presence - It may seem (by my posts and pictures) that I am always blissfully happy, feeling amazing, and loving my body.
I'm going to share some things that may give some insight into the other side of my selfies.
I have fought depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) , body dysmorphia, and eating disorders for many years. At times, I think the only thing that has saved me is being (physically) active. Though, that is one point of view...
I texted my ever-supportive sister a couple of months ago in regard to my eating disorder (Orthorexia/Anorexia) recovery: "Since I started eating again, hiking has saved my life."
She wrote back:
"No, eating has saved your life, so you can now hike."
I don't always feel amazing, in fact, at times it takes everything in me to carry on with the chronic pain and discomfort that I experience on a daily basis. Learning to manage my pain and push through has been trying both mentally and physically. There are times that I feel light, fresh, and full of energy. And other times, I feel heavy, stiff, and tired.
I don't always love my body. The days that I wake up loving the shape of my body and current physical condition are few and far in between.
Most days I am harping on myself for one thing or another.
Thinking unsupportive and disruptive thoughts like...
- My arms are big and fat
- My belly is bloated and everyone is staring at my "pooch"
- My skin is broken out, oily, and gross
- My face looks puffy, old, and tired
- My back has a layer of fat that I need to lose
- My ass has cellulite and isn't the smooth tight skin that it use to be
- My thighs are a bit big
- My eyebrows are bare, wiry, and ugly
- My hair is a thick frizzy mess
- My breasts are small and make me look fat
These are some the thoughts that I work through on any given day.
I have to actively remind myself supportive affirmations to counter to all of those negative thoughts.
- My arms are beautiful and strong
- My belly keeps me healthy, my mood stabilized, and is the perfect shape for me
- My skin is that of a human and changes with my hormones, environment, and age
- My face is full of life and shows that I have survived through birth and death of loved ones, tears and laughter, intimacy and heartache...
- My back works to keep my entire body strong, it holds me up to stand proudly awake and curls me to a fetal position when I tire
- My ass hikes me up mountains, runs me up hills, and supports my balance during yoga
- My thighs keep my body moving throughout the day and hold me steady even when the rest of me trembles or quivers
- My eyebrows are unique, I get the wire texture from my father, the sparseness from my obsessive plucking in my early teenage years - they are memories. They are beautiful. And, they are mine.
- My hair is full and abundant- bursting with my personality
- My breasts perfectly fit my frame and make me feel feminine and sexy at any size
What a resounding difference those statements make. I feel it even now writing them. And it makes me sad to think that I would have such destructive beliefs about myself.
So, my point is this:
Sometimes, when I post that "selfie" I am having a good day, I feel well, and my mind is happy... But sometimes, when I post that selfie, I am posting it because I am making an effort to feel beautiful even when I don't, to try and see the beauty that others say they see, to prove to myself that the beauty is there - somewhere hidden behind the dark circles and aging skin that I see staring back at me.
And you my friend... You are beautiful.